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Thursday, October 22, 2020


by Indran Amirthanayagam

“Hope,” a painting (1886) by George Frederic Watts and assistants.

Call it now. Out loud.
Without shame. By
its name. Call it

this morning on waking
in the still dark. Call it
reading last night

your words on the screen.
Call it banishing sleep.
There is no energy

more sweet that sustains.
Call it for the one
who corrects these verses.

Call it on streets of
suburb and city,
in the fields. Call it

in front of the Capitol
on top of Mount Baldy
on Waikiki Beach,

by Lake Superior.
We are going far my dear
and we are walking back

home for Thanksgiving
Let us invite Kamala
and Joe to the table.

Let us boil sweet potatoes,
serve elderberry jam,
make a bean and onion stuffing,

let our friends know
the meal will not involve
killing a turkey

or any other fowl.
Let us give thanks God
for this vitamin flowering

in the early dark, guiding
our fingers as we write,
saying call it now.

in the day, at night,
to friends and enemies
alike. In love and poetry

we are going to make
table and bed, and
we are going to write

our songs in these days
of the plague until
we see light come up

above the trees on fire,
the befogged clouds,
until the back of beyond.

Indran Amirthanayagam writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He has 19 poetry books, including The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, 2020) and Sur l'île nostalgique (L'Harmattan, 2020). In music, he recorded Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly, is a columnist for Haiti en Marchewon the Paterson Prize, and is a 2020 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts fellow.